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MERS Agrees to Reforms in Delaware Settlement

Delaware attorney general Beau Biden announced Friday that the state has reached an agreement with Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., (MERS) about implementing reforms. Biden filed suit against MERS last year after hearing from homeowners in the state who were ""unable to have meaningful conversations about saving their home"" and who could not find out who owned their mortgage.

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California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed Into Law

The Homeowner Bill of Rights so far consists of a series of related bills containing provisions that prohibit certain practices by lenders that have been attributed to the state's foreclosure crisis. Chief among the banned practices are robo-signing (signing of fraudulent mortgage documents without review) and dual-track foreclosure (starting foreclosure proceedings while the homeowner is in negotiations to save the home). The bill imposes civil penalties on perpetrators of these activities. In addition, it guarantees struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender who has knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.

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California Legislature Approves Homeowners’ Rights Bills

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights is one step closer to becoming law as the Legislature sends some of its key provisions to the governor, state attorney general Kamala Harris announced Monday. AB 278 and SB 900 provide protection for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction of dual-track foreclosures (in which a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions to try and save the home). The bills passed 53-25 in the Assembly and 25-13 in the Senate. They will be sent to the desk of governor Jerry Brown for consideration.

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California Homeowners’ Rights Bills Pass Committee

The Foreclosure Reduction Act and the Due Process Rights Act were approved by the Joint Conference Committee in a 4-1 vote, sending them up to an expected vote in both the Assembly and Senate next week. The Foreclosure Reduction Act restricts the process of ""dual-tracked foreclosures,"" in which lenders work with homeowners on trial loan modifications while at the same time continuing the foreclosure process. The Due Process Rights Act guarantees a reliable contact for struggling homeowners to discuss their loans with and imposes civil penalties on robosigning.

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New York Assembly Passes Foreclosure Fraud Justice Bill

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's proposed Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012 passed in the state Assembly, the Office of the Attorney General announced Thursday. Schneiderman introduced the legislation as part of an effort to protect homeowners from foreclosure and crack down on fraudulent business practices. The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act defines ""residential mortgage foreclosure fraud"" and imposes criminal penalties-including jail time-for employees who engage in fraudulent conduct (like knowingly authorizing, preparing, executing, or filing false documents in a foreclosure action) or managers who knowingly tolerate such behavior.

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California Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud Involving Short Sales

A California real estate agent pled guilty to conspiracy to commit real estate fraud after collecting short sale fees he was not entitled to, the California Department of Real Estate announced in a statement Monday. In October 2010, the DRE filed an action against Matthew Wayne Stewart and alleged that he received illegal profits in two short sale transactions in Placer and Nevada counties. Stewart was accused of requiring buyers in the two transactions to pay additional short sale negation fees that were hidden and not disclosed to the lenders or sellers.

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New York Commits $60M for Housing Counseling, Legal Services

At a Long Island Housing Partnership event Monday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the launch of the Homeowner Protection Program, a commitment of $60 million over three years to fund housing counseling and legal services for the state's homeowners.

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New York AG Bill: Jail Time for Employees Involved in Foreclosure Fraud

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday the introduction of his bill in the state Legislature that would protect New Yorkers from fraudulent business practices in the foreclosure process. Schneiderman's bill, titled The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012, defines residential mortgage foreclosure fraud and imposes new criminal penalties for those who intentionally engage in fraudulent conduct, including managers of residential mortgage businesses who tolerate such conduct by their employees. These penalties include jail time.

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